Saturday, December 29, 2012

President Signs Private Bill for Nigerian Overachiever (and Future M.D.) Victor Chukwueke

Maybe we should try to end the year with some upbeat immigration news.  Here is a nice story about a hard-working immigrant, a sensible and humane U.S. Congress, and a stand-up President.

While the United States stands at the precipice of the fiscal cliff (and, incidentally, has frittered away a decade failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform), President Barack Obama signed into law a private bill passed by Congress granting Victor Chukwueke permanent residency in the Unites States. Victor came to the United States 11 years ago to undergo treatment for face tumors. He graduated from Wayne State and plans to attend an Ohio medical school. The U.S. Congress passed a private bill this month granting him permanent residency. Obama signed the bill Friday. Chukwueke's is the only private bill to pass in Congress in two years.

Read Victor's inspirational story.  This is the short version.  In 2011, Victor was selected to address his fellow graduates at the Wayne State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences commencement.  While earning his degree in Biochemistry/Chemical Biology, he was on the dean’s list, ran a marathon to raise money for charity, volunteered in a research lab working to determine how tumors spread, and aspires to become a doctor so he can alleviate the pain and suffering of people in developing countries. As a boy growing up in Nigeria, Victor developed a benign tumor growing on the top and right sides of his face. His mother took him to hospitals throughout Nigeria seeking medical treatment for neurofibromatosis, but none had the facilities or expertise to treat him. Without surgery, the facial tumor continued to grow unchecked leaving him with a severe facial deformity. Victor said as uncomfortable as the tumor was, the teasing and ostracism by other children was more painful. In 2001, a missionary nun in Nigeria who ran a center for the mentally and physically challenged arranged for Victor to work with a Southfield, Michigan plastic surgeon who agreed to operate on him for free. At age 15, Victor left his family and his small village in Nigeria and came to Michigan. Ten years and many surgeries later, he lives with nuns in Oak Park, Michigan.

Courtesy of Victor's

Happy New Year, Victor Chukwueke!


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